Monday, 13 August 2012

following a dream: part 1

Or how we eventually got to live in Australia and how that's working out...

I've never shared many of the details about our being here in Australia- why we decided to pack our bags, leave London and head to the other side of the world and how we made it happen, but I thought I'd put our story out there in the event it may be interesting or useful to anyone else entertaining ideas of doing something similar or embarking on their own adventure.

I've always been a believer in getting up and doing, trying to make dreams happen rather than just sitting around whinging about how I wish I was somewhere else, doing something different. Of course these plans and goals don't always come to fruition but nothing ventured, nothing gained as the old saying goes.

Since soon after Lila was born four years ago, we had been throwing around ideas of trying out life down under. London had been a truly awesome place to call home for both of us during the previous few years but it wasn't the ideal environment in which we envisaged raising a family. We were both keen on a more outdoor lifestyle. I spent my childhood on a farm, running around in fields and making dens in hay bales and Curt was keen to raise his kids by the ocean in the the same kind of relaxed, beach environment he had grown up. We also wanted to see more of the other side of the world and give our children the chance to experience new places and people. And live somewhere where summer isn't always a washout (sorry, England. You will always have my heart but your summers are just not quite long or reliable enough). It seemed an ideal time to do it, as Lila was still so small and not settled into school yet. 

I had spent six months living and working in various places in Australia during my year of post-university travels. Curt had never set foot on Australian soil but knew the lifestyle and culture was similar enough to that of his native Durban in South Africa. The obvious choice within Australia was Melbourne as my sister had already been living there for a few years and was settled with a fiancee and a stable job, and if you plan on upping sticks to the other end of the world then it makes sense to be near family.

So we knew where we wanted to be, but actually getting here was far from straightforward. Of course we'd heard enough from other people to know that getting work visas would likely be a difficult, expensive and protracted process. Fortunately Curt was working for a big multi-national company with offices all over the world, including Australia, so applying for a transfer seemed the easiest way to go about getting a visa, and of course guaranteed him a job on arrival. 

As his wife/partner I could automatically get a work visa off the back of his. The timing wasn't ideal as he started the transfer process just as the first wave of the recession hit. The Australian offices suddenly dug their heels in as they were understandably wary of adding to their team in such an uncertain economical time. So everything ground to a halt and we were left hanging, unsure of whether anything would happen at all, told that the recruitment process had been frozen for the forseeable future. 

To be continued...

Family snapshots taken on Wimbledon Common and in our local park in Winter/Spring 2009, a few months before we left the UK.

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